Inmarsat's GX Aviation will be lineit on Qatar Airways' upcoming Airbus A350 fleet. Image: Inmarsat

Inmarsat’s GX Aviation will be linefit on Qatar Airways’ upcoming Airbus A350 fleet. Image: Inmarsat

Here are the most-read stories from this week’s APEX Daily Experience newsletters. To receive breaking passenger experience industry news in your inbox on a daily basis, subscribe here

Qatar Airways Confirms Inmarsat GX Aviation Installations on More Than 130 Aircraft


Qatar Airways today announced plans to equip more than 130 of its aircraft with Inmarsat’s GX Aviation in-flight broadband. GX Aviation technology and Thales connectivity hardware have already been linefit on several of the Doha-based carrier’s Airbus A350s, which are expected to be delivered later this year. The airline’s remaining A350s, as well as its Boeing 777s, are slated to be retrofit with GX in-flight connectivity this summer. “We are the only GX linefit solution on the A350 platform … This was a huge win for us and an exceptional opportunity for us to work with a top brand in the aviation space,” said Glenn Latta, president of Connectivity and TV, Thales InFlyt Experience.

US Mulls Extending In-Flight Electronics Ban to European Airports


The Trump administration is considering extending its ban on large electronic devices in hand luggage on flights from 10 Middle Eastern airports to include departures from Europe. According to British officials, the UK is among the countries that may be affected by the move. Gillian Christensen, a spokesperson for the US Department of Homeland Security, responded to The Guardian with a statement saying, “We’ve said we will continue to evaluate the threat environment and make determinations based on that assessment, but we have not made any decisions on expanding the current restrictions.” APEX CEO Joe Leader commented on the news, saying, “Having the electronics ban spread to the European Union for flights to the United States would damage the personal freedom integral to international air travel.”

Giant Rabbit Found Dead on United Airlines Flight


United Airlines is back in the public eye after a potentially record-breaking 10-month-old giant rabbit died on board one of its flights from London to Chicago. The three-foot continental giant rabbit named Simon was found dead in the cargo hold of the Boeing 767-300 upon landing at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. A United spokesperson said the airline was reviewing the incident. “We were saddened to hear this news. The safety and wellbeing of all the animals that travel with us is of the utmost importance to United Airlines and our PetSafe team,” she said. US Department of Transportation figures show 35 animal deaths occurred across 17 US airlines in 2015.

AirFi Now Offering Premium Hollywood Content


AirFi has teamed up with LA content service provider West Entertainment to create premium in-flight entertainment packages, providing airlines with a portable IFE streaming option that includes Hollywood movies. Passengers will gain access to a variety of blockbuster films without the need to download an app, as is typical on many wireless IFE platforms. “We examined ways to supply without the need for DRM [digital rights management] protection where possible, thus avoiding the hassle of airlines having to introduce native apps for passengers to view the content on board,” says Kate Groth, VP of Everything, West Entertainment. AirFi CEO Job Heimerikx says half of AirFi’s airline clients immediately showed interest in the new service, which is expected to go live in May.

United Takes Action to Improve Its Policy on Overbooked Flights


United Airlines released a new policy today, outlining how it will handle passengers on overbooked flights. According to the updated regulations, law enforcement will not remove customers from a flight, and customers will not be required to give up their seat once on board – except in matters of safety or security. If a flight is overbooked, an automated system will solicit volunteers, who will receive compensation of up to $10,000 each for giving up their seats. “Every customer deserves to be treated with the highest levels of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect,” said United CEO Oscar Munoz. “Today, we are taking concrete, meaningful action to make things right.”

GEE Chief Says There Was No Wrongdoing Behind Recent Executive Departures


Global Eagle Entertainment has denied that its changes in executive leadership and its overdue financial statements are related to corporate misconduct on its part. In a conference call last week, GEE’s newly appointed chief executive, Jeff Leddy, denied the company had engaged in unlawful activity. “My replacement of the previous CEO and the CFO was not a result of any fraud or misconduct by my predecessors,” said Leddy. “[It was] rather belief by the board … that I am best qualified to lead the company going forward.” Paul Rainey, GEE’s new CFO, also said the company’s 2016 audit would be filed by June 30, explaining that it was taking longer than normal because of the number of acquisitions the company has made in recent years.

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